with Péguy's portrait by Egon Schiele
He died in battle, shot in the forehead, in Villeroy, Seine-et-Marne during World War I, on the day before the beginning of the Battle of the Marne.
Benito Mussolini referred to Péguy as a "source" for Fascism. But,according to Zaretsky in
The Virginia Quarterly Review
, Péguy wouldhave likely been horrified by this appropriation.
During World War II both supporters and opponents of Vichy France cited Péguy. EdmondMichelet was the first of many members of the French Resistance toquote Péguy; de Gaulle, familiar with Péguy's writing, quoted him a 1942speech. Those who opposed Vichy's anti-Semitism laws often cited him.By contrast, Robert Brasillach praised Péguy as a "French NationalSocialist", and his sons Pierre and Marcel wrote that their father was aninspiration for Vichy's National Revolution ideology and "above all, aracist".
At the end of Graham Greene's novel
(1938), theunnamed, old French priest tells Rose about a man who never took thesacraments but who some think was a saint—an obvious reference toPéguy.In 1983, Geoffrey Hill published a poem as homage to Péguy, entitled
The Mystery of the Charity of Charles Péguy
"The sinner is at the very heart of Christianity. Nobody is so competent as the sinner in matters of Christianity. Nobody, except the saint.""It will never be known what acts of cowardice have been committed for fear of not looking sufficiently progressive." (
, 1905)."Tyranny is always better organised than freedom"."It has never been given to a man to attain at once his happiness and his salvation.""Kantianism has clean hands, but it has no hands.""Homer is new and fresh this morning, and nothing, perhaps, is so old and tired as today's newspaper."“Life holds only one tragedy, ultimately: not to have been a saint.”"Surrender is essentially an operation by means of which we set out explaining instead of acting.""He who does not bellow the truth when he knows the truth makes himself the accomplice of liars and forgers.""A word is not the same with one writer as with another. One tears it from his guts. The other pulls it out of hisovercoat pocket.""How maddening, says God, it will be when there are no longer any Frenchmen";